1874 - Birth of Hand of the Cause John Esslemont
For a great biographical sketch - click here
1891 - Martyrdom of the Seven Martyrs of Yazd
In the Lawh-i-Dunya Bahá'u'lláh states:
The tyrant of the land of Ya [Yazd], committed that which hath caused the Concourse on High to shed tears of blood.
He was Prince Mahmud Mirza the Jalalu'd-Dawlih, Governor of Yazd. Bahá'u'lláh is referring to the martyrdom on his orders of seven believers known as the first seven martyrs of Yazd. This heinous crime took place on 19 May 1891; the news reached Bahá'u'lláh when He was staying in Haifa. He withheld the Revelation of His words for nine days, and during this period no one was admitted into His presence. The first Tablet which was revealed after this lapse of nine days was the Lawh-i-Dunya'. The details of the martyrdom of these seven is given in the Tarikh-i-Shuhaday-i-Yazd (the History of the Martyrs of Yazd), and Shoghi Effendi in his masterly fashion has summarized it as follows:
In Yazd, at the instigation of the mujtahid of that city, and by order of the callous Mahmud Mirza, the Jalalu'd-Dawlih, the governor, a son of Zillu's-Sultan, seven were done to death in a single day in horrible circumstances. The first of these, a twenty-seven year old youth, 'Ali-Asghar, was strangled, his body delivered into the hands of some Jews who, forcing the dead man's six companions to come with them, dragged the corpse through the streets, surrounded by a mob of people and soldiers beating drums and blowing trumpets, after which, arriving near the Telegraph office, they beheaded the eighty-five year old Mulla Mihdi and dragged him in the same manner to another quarter of the city, where, in view of a great throng of onlookers, frenzied by the throbbing strains of the music, they executed Aqa 'Ali in like manner. Proceeding thence to the house of the local mujtahid, and carrying with them the four remaining companions, they cut the throat of Mulla 'Aliy-i-Sabzivari, who had been addressing the crowd and glorying in his imminent martyrdom, hacked his body to pieces with a spade, while he was still alive, and pounded his skull to a pulp with
stones. In another quarter, near the Mihriz gate, they slew Muhammad-Baqir, and afterwards, in the Maydan-i-Khan, as the music grew wilder and drowned the yells of the people, they beheaded the survivors who remained, two brothers in their early twenties,
'Ali-Asghar and Muhammad-Hasan. The stomach of the latter was ripped open and his heart and liver plucked out, after which his head was impaled on a spear, carried aloft, to the accompaniment of music, through the streets of the city, and suspended on a mulberry tree, and stoned by a great concourse of people. His body was cast before the door of his mother's house, into which women deliberately entered to dance and make merry. Even pieces of their flesh were carried away to be used as a medicament. Finally, the head of Muhammad-Hasan was attached to the lower part of his body and, together with those of the other martyrs, was borne to the outskirts of the city and so viciously pelted with stones that the skulls were broken, whereupon they compelled the Jews to carry the remains and throw them into a pit in the plain of Salsabil. A holiday was declared by the governor for the people, all the shops were closed by his order, the city was illuminated at night, and festivities proclaimed the consummation of one of the most barbarous acts perpetrated in modern times.
(Adib Taherzadeh, The Revelation of Baha'u'llah v 4, p. 347)
1912 - Abdul-Baha in America
19 May 1912 Talk at Church of the Divine Paternity Central Park West, New York
19 May 1912 Talk at Brotherhood Church Bergen and Fairview Avenues, Jersey City, New Jersey
On Sunday, 19 May, He spoke at the Church of the Divine Paternity. This was unbearably beautiful. The church is Byzantine, making me think of the worship of the early Christians. The interior is of grey stone.
Oh the look of His that day! Then, more vividly than ever, He shone as the Good Shepherd, returned at last to His flocks. I wept through the whole service. At the end of the pew in front of me sat Lua, her eyes fixed on the master, rapt, adoring, her beauty immeasurably heightened by that recognition, that adoration.
(Misc Baha'i, The Diary of Juliet Thompson p.100)
The landlord [of `Abdu'l-Bahá's house] had complained about the excessive comings and goings of the visitors, therefore the Master chose the house of Mr and Mrs Kinney for the gatherings of the friends. Among the new people visiting `Abdu'l-Bahá were some Jewish rabbis. (Mahmud's Diary)